July 18th – 25th is Independent Bookshop Week, so in celebration of that, I’m writing a few posts about the indie bookshops in my life.
I’ve always been a voracious reader, and as a child I was often found in the local library, and rarely seen without a book in my hands. I made my way through 100 books on the Book Track scheme faster than our librarian had ever seen.
One of the other places I came to love in my town was the Dartmoor Bookshop (sadly now closed down), a second-hand book shop. I don’t remember the first time I ever visited that shop, but whenever I ducked in through the doorway, and the smell of old books hit me, it was like smelling it for the first time. That smell never faded, never became too familiar to notice.
The shop filled a tall, narrow building, and every available space was crammed with books. I never knew it empty of customers, and we all had to shuffle around, squeezing past one another apologetically.
The shop ran over three floors, each somehow smaller than the one below. The stairs were narrow and precarious, and the floors upstairs, covered in huge, thick rugs, rippled and bowed underfoot. I never quite trusted the upper levels.
I bought stacks of books from this shop, poring mainly over the poetry and occult books, and it will always be special to me. Like a girl’s first love.